Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
DBowling
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1411
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:23 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 23 times
Been liked: 150 times

Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#16

Post by DBowling » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:03 am

RickD wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:14 am

Again, metanoia literally means, "a change of mind". It doesn't mean, "a turning from sin".
Metanoia means a change of mind... but the Scriptural context of metanoia helps us understand the object of what we are changing our minds about.
The context of repentance in the NT often involves "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" and "calling sinners to repentance"
So in the NT (and the OT for that matter) repentance does indeed involve a "change of mind" regarding sin.
And as I mention above, that "change of mind" regarding sin involves deciding that I no longer want to be a slave to sin and that I want to be delivered from sin.
So there there is a way to understand the phrase "turning from sin" that is an accurate understanding of the Scriptural principle of a "change of mind" regarding sin.
If "turning from sin" were a requirement for salvation, we'd all be lost. If one wants to claim that turning from sin is a part or sanctification, then I'd agree.
And based on what "turning from sin" means to you, I agree with what you are saying.
But the issue here is "turning from sin" means something totally different to claysmith than what it means to you.
So when you and claysmith are discussing whether "turning from sin" is a Scripturally accurate definition of repentance you are just talking past each other.
But it's not metanoia, and turning from sin is not the part of trusting/faith that saves. "Repent and believe", more accurately is "change your mind (about who Christ is, and what he's done), and believe".
Based on how metanoia is used throughout the NT I would also add that metamoia also involves changing your mind about sin.

Trusting Jesus to save me from my sin involves.
Turning TO Jesus to deliver me FROM my sin.

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8210
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 387 times
Been liked: 611 times

Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#17

Post by Philip » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:47 am

Having faith in Jesus includes recognition that A) one is a sinner, B) realizing they need salvation, and C) they believe Jesus is God's Son / the resurrected Christ of the Gospel who also has the power to save them, and D) they are submitting themselves to Him. But that submittance doesn't mean they first MAKE Jesus the Lord of their life - as that's a life-long process of slowly learning how to do. No, they are recognizing and submitting themselves to Him AS their Lord. As Christians, we all know it's more than a matter of mere belief.
These users liked this post by Philip:
claysmithr (Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:55 pm)

User avatar
patrick
Established Member
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:59 am
Christian: Yes
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Has liked: 283 times
Been liked: 36 times

Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#18

Post by patrick » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:36 pm

I have to say, I sort of wonder where the misunderstanding surrounding belief began, who is served by the obfuscation of what it means to believe. It would be quite helpful if we, as a society, could stop making Christian belief out to be a mere intellectual prediction about the afterlife.

Anyways, to me, belief in Christ is more like a commitment to act as if goodness reigns supreme, allowing oneself to be moved by hope. We might still be addicted to this or that sin, but believing in the good we can at least confess that we have a problem.

And people go to hell not because they put their bets on the wrong pony but because their hearts have hardened to stone. Some people just feel like there's no way to possibly justify the suffering they have experienced, and they feel insulted by anyone who suggests their suffering somehow is justified. We aren't even able to recognize God as God in a state like that.

Personally, I have suffered enough to be sympathetic to this view, but for me it's a lot more about hope vs despair. I am too tired to be angry, I guess. Sure, I get pretty irritated when people use their beliefs to justify callousness and laziness, but when it comes to the bigger picture? Either there is light or all is darkness.
These users liked this post by patrick:
Philip (Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:27 pm)

Post Reply